RET News May 2019 CE

Rationalists of East Tennessee Newsletter

May 2019


Sunday, May 19, 2019, 1:30pm

RET Annual Free Public Meeting 

by Andrew L. Seidel

Director of Strategic Response at the Freedom from Religion Foundation

Goins Auditorium

Pellissippi State Community College

10915 Hardin Valley Road

The Founding Myth will be available for purchase

Reception immediately follows talk

Help publicize this special event by printing the poster to display in public places!



April 28          Sunday          1:00–3:30 p.m. 

Discussion and Pot Luck             Hosted by Bob Morris, 140 Greystone Drive, Oak Ridge 37830

Civil conversations – there is much talk these days about having civil conversations, but little real progress.  What is a civil conversation?  We often invoke parliamentary rules like Robert’s rule of order, but these rules often favor those who understand them, can manipulate them to their advantage, and have training in rhetorical skills.  Others who are less verbal and skilled in rhetoric feel shutout, ignored, and marginalized.   What is a good model for a civil conversation that includes a bit of emotion, some verbal stumbling, and minimizes political manipulation?  Does great literature or theater offer a better model?  Should we allow a story format in addition to the linear facts statements?  How should we handle anger and frustration release?  Waving our finger and demanding self control often escalates rather than deescalates the situation.  Can you think of a model that keeps a semblance of order, yet allows people to vent out their frustration in a controlled and beneficial manner?

Please bring a dish or snacks for the usual pot luck, and Bob will provide some drinks and paper dinnerware. If you have strong legs, please park at the bottom of the driveway so others have less of a climb.

First Sunday Meeting

May 5         Sunday          10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.                         

Pellissippi State Community College, Goins Administration Building, Cafeteria Annex

This will be a "bring your own topic" discussion. Topics will be chosen at random from those submitted with 15 - 20 minutes spent on each.

Come early for coffee and conversation.

Get Directions


Nonviolent/Compassionate Communication

May 8         Wednesday          5:30 p.m.

"The Birdhouse Community Center" 800 North 4th Avenue, Knoxville TN 37917

Charter RET member Melissa Brenneman has organized a collaborative study of nonviolent communication (also called compassionate communication).  Meetings will be on the second Wednesday of each month at 5:30 pm.  Interested RET members should contact Melissa at Recommended books: Nonviolent Communication (by Marshall Rosenberg) and Nonviolent Communication Companion Workbook (by Lucy Leu).  For more information about nonviolent communication, see


Freethought Forum TV

May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29          Wednesdays          6:30 - 7:30 p.m.

FFTV, presented in conjunction with the Atheist Society of Knoxville, is broadcast each Wednesday,
6:30–7:30 p.m. on Knoxville's Community TV.  Call in (865-215-2288) with questions and comments. 

The program can be seen live on the internet at In the Knoxville area it can be viewed on the following channels - Xfinity (Comcast), Channel 12: WOW! (Knology), Channel 6: Charter, Channel 193: AT&T U-verse, Channel 99

Skeptic Book Club

May 12        Sunday        2:004:00 p.m.                         

Books-A-Million, 8513 Kingston Pike, Knoxville 37919

Turned On: Science, Sex and Robots by Kate Devlin

Sex robots are here, and here to stay -- and more are coming.


Third Sunday Meeting,  RET's Annual Invited Guest Speaker

May 19         Sunday          1:30 p.m.

Pellissippi State Community College, Goins Administration Building Auditorium

Guest speaker, Andrew Seidel, director of Strategic Response at the Freedom From Religion Foundation, will speak on The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism Is Unamerican.  Christian nationalism made Donald Trump president.  This political theology claims that America is a Christian nation, that the United States was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, that the Ten Commandments form the basis of our laws.  Constitutional attorney and Wisconsin author Andrew L. Seidel discusses his new book, The Founding Myth, which illustrates that, not only are we not a Christian nation, but Judeo-Christian principles are fundamentally opposed to the values on which America was founded.  Religion, law, and history collide in this provocative conversation.  Copies of The Founding Myth will be available for purchase.

If you want to help publicize this special event, please print out the poster and post in a public place.

    No Reflections meeting on May 26

    Happy Memorial Day Weekend!




    RET is now on, an online social networking site that allows people to find others who share common interests. Join in:


    OTHER AREA SECULAR ACTIVITIES                         

    Atheist Society of Knoxville, Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m., Barley’s Taproom & Pizzeria, 200 East Jackson Avenue, Knoxville 37915. Conversation, food, and drink.

    East Tennessee Chapter, Freedom from Religion Foundation, 6:00 p.m., third Wednesday of alternate months, Earth Fare, Turkey Creek, Knoxville. The next meeting will be Wednesday, May 15.

    Sunday Assembly Knoxville (Live Better, Help Often, Wonder More)
    The Concourse, 944 Blackstock Avenue, Knoxville 37921. Sunday Assembly sites: Facebook, Meetup, Email.


    Copyright © 2019 {Rationalists of East Tennessee, Inc.}. All rights reserved. Please request use of any material at contact below.
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    Edited by Sharron King:
    Opinions expressed are those of authors and/or editors and are not necessarily the opinions of RET.